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Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty, originally called “Liberty Enlightening the World,” stands at the mouth of the Hudson River, on Libery Island in New York. Counted among the wonders of the world, the statue was a gift of international friendship from the people of France to the United States, in the late 19th century. The statue, a universal symbol of political freedom and democracy, was designated as a National Monument in 1924 and a World Heritage Site in 1984. The Goddess of Liberty holds a torch in her right hand and a tablet bearing the date July 4, 1776, in her left, proclaiming liberty. The seven spikes in her crown symbolize the seven seas or the seven continents, whereas the 25 windows represent the gemstones found on the earth and the heaven's rays shining over the world. One of her feet stands on chains. Designed by Fredéric Auguste Bartholdi of Alsace, the 151-foot statue is a welcome sign for immigrants. Bartholdi used Isabella Eugenie Boyer, wife of Isaac Singer, a sewing machine industrialist, as a model for the statue. While the French built the statue and Americans were responsible for building the pedestal. The statue is constructed of copper sheets, hammered into shape by hand and assembled over four gigantic steel underpinnings, designed by Alexander Eiffel of France. The 150-foot high pedestal was the effort of two Americans - Richard M. Hunt and General Charles P. Stone. The statue was completed in France in July 1884, and arrived in New York Harbor in June 1885. It took four months to reassemble the statue. On October 28, 1886, the dedication of the statue took place, and President Grover Cleveland accepted it on behalf of the American people. Extensive renovations were performed over the years, and in 1986, a gold layer was added on the torch, which shines over the harbor at night. Later, in September 1972, President Richard M. Nixon dedicated the American Museum of Immigration at the base of the statue. To reach Liberty Island, special ferries are available from Battery Park at the downtown tip of Manhattan or from Liberty State Park in New Jersey. An elevator leads to the upper level of the statue, and a spiral staircase continues on to the observation platform in the crown. A view of the inside can be seen through a glass ceiling, and panoramic views of New York City and the harbor, can be enjoyed from the statue’s observation deck.